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Annual Wellness Visits

Why is an Annual Wellness Visit So Important?

Your Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) is a yearly Medicare-designed appointment with your Southwest Care Center provider intended to focus on prevention and create or update a personalized wellness plan. This plan may help prevent illness based on your current health and risk factors. Medicare no longer covers a head-to-toe annual physical. A physical exam will not be covered at this visit. However, if during the course of your appointment, diagnostic care is required, Medicare will bill you for that evaluation and treatment.

The AWV is similar to but separate from the one-time “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit.

If you believe like we do, that medicine must be personalized, based on trust, affordable and available when you need it, please call and make an appointment at 505.988.8869.

What to Expect At Your Annual Wellness Visit

Annual Wellness Visits are very common, and we do them every day. That being said, we know a visit to the doctor can come with some anxiety or at least some questions about what a patient can expect during their visits. We want you to be as comfortable as possible while you are a guest at our clinics. Below is a description of what a wellness visit looks like at SCC.

When you come to a Southwest Care Center clinic you may be asked to fill out some paperwork. This can be time consuming but is necessary for us to have the information we need to best serve you. We are very successful at keeping our wait times short and rank in the top 95% of other medical clinics on this measure. Once it is time for your visit, a nurse or medical assistant will call you back to one of our exam rooms. The nurse or medical assistant will ask you questions, record information, and check your vitals. During your wellness exam, your provider will review your medical history, medications, and risk factors, as well as make recommendations for preventive screenings, vaccinations, or other tests based on your medical conditions.

Covered services

During your first Annual Wellness Visit, your Southwest Care Center physician will work with you to develop your personalized wellness plan. Your physician will also:

  • Check your height, weight, blood pressure, and other routine measurements
  • Give you a health risk assessment
    • This may include a questionnaire that you complete before or during the visit. The questionnaire asks about your health status, injury risks, behavioral risks, and urgent health needs.
  • Review your functional ability and level of safety
    • This includes screening for hearing impairments and your risk of falling.
    • Your doctor must also assess your ability to perform activities of daily living (such as bathing and dressing), and your level of safety at home.
  • Learn about your medical and family history
  • Make a list of your current providers, durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers, and medications
    • Medications include prescription medications as well as any vitamins and supplements you may take
  • Create a written 5- to 10-year screening schedule or checklist
    • Your PCP should keep in mind your health status, screening history, and eligibility for age-appropriate, Medicare-covered preventive services.
  • Screen for cognitive impairment, including diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia
    • Medicare does not require that doctors use a test to screen you. Instead, doctors are asked to rely on their observations and/or on reports by you and others.
  • Screen for depression
  • Provide health advice and referrals to health education and/or preventive counseling services aimed at reducing identified risk factors and promoting wellness
    • Health education and preventive counseling may relate to weight loss, physical activity, smoking cessation, fall prevention, nutrition, and more.

AWVs after your first visit may be different. At subsequent AWVs, your doctor should:

  • Check your weight and blood pressure
  • Update the health risk assessment you completed
  • Update your medical and family history
  • Update your list of current medical providers and suppliers
  • Update your written screening schedule
  • Screen for cognitive issues
  • Provide health advice and referrals to health education and/or preventive counseling services


If you qualify, Original Medicare covers the Annual Wellness Visit at 100% of the Medicare-approved amount when you receive the service from a participating provider. This means you pay nothing (no deductible or coinsurance). Medicare Advantage Plans are required to cover AWVs without applying deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance when you see an in-network provider and meet Medicare’s eligibility requirements for the service.

During the course of your AWV, your provider may discover and need to investigate or treat a new or existing problem. This additional care is considered diagnostic, meaning your provider is treating you because of certain symptoms or risk factors. Medicare may bill you for any diagnostic care you receive during a preventive visit.